Famous vanilla box cake

So, I have a list of content that I want to put up and not enough time to write. So to break up the monotony of “come see us at Georgina Farmer’s Market on Sunday!” (We’ll also be at Georgia’s Canada Day festival, btw.), I decided to share a simple recipe post. How is it magic? Well, we’ve involved some of the elements in witchcraft practices before, but the simple answer is that many witches these days have an appreciation for domestic labour and recipes are often traded among our witch friends whether the recipes are magical or not. So, I felt comfortable gambling that some of our readers would also enjoy the occasional recipe.

I first started exploring domestic skills by making my college boyfriend snacks and birthday cakes. I was a firm believer in using the best ingredients and making the whole thing from scratch, but being the homemaker for our family has grown a new appreciation in me for accessible, shelf-stable ingredients and box mixes. Like my mother before me, I’ve found the best quick-made food comes from box or frozen altered with add-ins. For example, boxed mashed potatoes with herbs added, or, in this case, boxed cake mix with real butter and buttermilk.

I was a firm believer in using the best ingredients and making the whole thing from scratch, but being the homemaker for our family has grown a new appreciation in me for accessible, shelf-stable ingredients and box mixes

It starts with a good mix, something you would like even if it was made to instructions. We use French Vanilla cake mix because it tends to have a more pronounced vanilla flavour and the extra egg will help with the cake structure. Next, change all the add-ins. Instead of water, use buttermilk. Instead of oil, use butter. Instead of egg, use… More egg. Also add more vanilla.

In our case, because we live in suburbia, we can’t get real buttermilk, so we make it. I buy 35% whipping cream at the grocery, fill a large Mason jar half way, put on a tight lid, and hand it to A (Kendra’s youngest brother). He shakes it until it becomes butter & buttermilk. Supposedly, my wife and I are both fully capable of shaking jars as well, but somehow he has knack for it and turns it into butter in half the time we do.

Anyway, like I said, use 1 cup of the buttermilk instead of the 1 cup of water and ½ cup of the unsalted butter instead of ½ cup vegetable oil. This will make the resulting cake very moist and tender, so an extra egg can help hold it together. The French Vanilla mix already calls for an extra egg, but if you want to decorate it, you’ll need yet another egg. Trust me. Then you want to add more vanilla extract, 1-2 tsp. We want our French Vanilla to taste like vanilla, not just butter and sugar. If you’re making chocolate, add an extra tsp of vanilla and 1 Tbsp of brewed coffee.

Now, because of all this extra fat and moisture, you’re gonna want to add 10-12 minutes to the cook time of a whole cake. For cupcakes, add 3-4 minutes. For sheet cake 5-7. (Do Canadians even do sheet cake? The other day, someone said it was a Southern thing, and I’m like, “I thought it was an everyone thing??”)

After it’s done baking, leave in its pan 10-15 minutes before flipping onto a cooling rack. We ice our bundt cakes by sticking icing in the microwave for 45-60 seconds and then pouring the melted icing over the cake. It gets a nice, even coat and saves time, and I honestly suck at cake decorating anyway. I make food taste good, I don’t often make it look good.

Anyway, I hope this post helps some witch who needs to make a special cake but just doesn’t have the time to do shit from scratch anymore. Comment your own food hacks, or make the recipe and tell me how it went!

One thought on “Famous vanilla box cake

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